Nottingham Forest manager Stuart Pearce says he expected nothing less than the strong display his side produced at Spurs tonight.Pearce made nine changes to the side which drew in Saturday’s league clash with Millwall, handing Jorge Grant his full debut and witnessing the midfielder open the scoring in the second half at White Hart Lane.
Ben Osborn hit the bar in the first half and Forest’s defence had coped well with a Spurs side boasting the likes of Andros Townsend, Aaron Lennon and Roberto Soldado, before substitute Ryan Mason came off the bench to level the scores - and tip the tie in the hosts’ favour - with a stunning long-range effort.
And, despite the changes he made to the line-up, Pearce wasn’t surprised with the quality of his side’s performance.
He said: “Whatever team I put out tonight, I’m not sure they could have put on a better performance than the 14 who took to the pitch. I really was impressed with them.
“I thought that team would win the match. They carried out our game plan exemplarily and Tottenham needed a fantastic goal to get them back into it.
“The likes of Dan Harding have been patient and come in tonight and shown a first-class attitude. On top of that the Ben Osborns, the Jamie Patersons...they’re all showing me they want to be in my first team on a regular basis.
“It’s another sign that this football club is in a healthy situation.”
Grant wasn’t the only youngster in the limelight. 17-year-old Oliver Burke came off the bench for his debut late on, while Tyler Walker was an unused substitute.
Pearce said: “I told the academy players at the start of the season that if they were doing well enough they’d be involved in the first-team squad, and I’ve been true to my word.
“Oliver ended up on the pitch for us, Tyler was on the bench and Jorge was a million miles away before I came here, but he’s been so impressive.”